Straw Bale Gardens
Straw bale gardens are another great way to grow flowers and vegetables when you have limited space or you would like grow in a more temporary space. The bales need to go through a curing process which includes adding fertilizers and watering the bales to the point of saturation. This begins to compost the straw and provide a wonderful growing medium for your hungry plants. It can be a little taxing to supplement the bales with water during the curing process and dry spells, but we are fortunate to have winter snow and plenty of spring rains. I suggest leaving the bales out over the winter to help saturate them. There are plenty of great resources online as well as books on growing this way. If you are interested in learning more on the curing process check out Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten. It’s an easy read for learning the whole process. Once the bales begin to grow mushrooms, you know the composting process is underway and you will soon be able to add your seeds or transplants. Once planted, the straw does tend to dry out faster than a garden bed so having an irrigation system set up for them makes a big difference in the work load. A benefit to growing in the straw is that it will warm up faster than the bare ground, and you get free compost come time to move or clean them up. I am hooked on having our straw bale pumpkin patch each season, and we are lucky to have a local farm near us which grows and cuts straw.
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